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Exclusive: ‘The Boogeyman’ director breaks down the rhythm of a perfect jump scare

You can't go wrong with channeling a horror legend.

the boogeyman
Image via 20th Century Studios

If there’s any group of people who have been eating better than just about anyone these days, it’s horror fans; after an arguably history-making year of releases in 2022, the first half of 2023 has had quite the strong start in its own right. Indeed, from M3GAN to Infinity Pool to Scream VI to Evil Dead Rise, there’s certainly been no shortage of top-tier spooks to indulge in.

And the current bearer of that torch is The Boogeyman, the latest in a decades-long line of Stephen King screen adaptations, helmed by Host mastermind Rob Savage, who obviously knows a thing or two about eliciting cold sweats from his audiences given his prior projects.

The Boogeyman is no different; after more than a few test screeners caused nightlight stock to skyrocket, the once Hulu-bound film was given the blessing of a cinematic release, where Savage’s scares could reach their full potential.

In an exclusive interview with We Got This Covered, the horror maverick divulged his approach to crafting the ever-important jump scare, citing genre powerhouse James Wan and his rhythmic “one-two-three” approach as the foundation for his own, chaotic, tension-happy gameplans.

“James Wan talks about most jump scares, it kind of goes one-two-three, and the jump scare on three, that’s the rhythm.. And it’s the same thing. I was trying to mix it up in this movie, there are some jump scares that happen on one, and some jump scares that happen on 10. And it’s also just about making the whole movie feel unsafe as horror fans, the moments you can check your phone, or you can go make a cup of tea.”

He would go on to continue geeking about the “horror language” that so many fans of the genre are intimately familiar with, and factoring that particular brand of literacy into his directorial efforts.

“And so we tried… there’s a scene that takes place in the daytime, where a huge scare happens to get people off-guard. Daytime scenes are normally where the audience feels they can relax a little bit. So I love it when a horror movie knows that the audience understands the horror language, and then manages to still get them.”

There’s few more delightful indulgences on this planet than watching a top-notch creative mind lay out their process, and Savage’s firm grasp on his craft should be infinitely exciting to those looking forward to his future efforts. Indeed, if Savage and his contemporaries keep up this kind of pace, we almost might be able forgive the horror zeitgeist for birthing Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.

The Boogeyman is now playing in theaters.

Charlotte Simmons
About the author

Charlotte Simmons

Charlotte is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered, a graduate of St. Thomas University's English program, a fountain of film opinions, and the single biggest fan of Peter Jackson's 'King Kong,' probably. Having written professionally since 2018, her work has also appeared in The Town Crier and The East